Homeowners often make to-do lists for projects that need to be done around the home, but fire safety precautions don’t always top the list. They should though. The National Fire Prevention Association reports that 365,500 home fires were ignited in 2015, resulting in 2,650 deaths and $7 billion in damages.
While it isn’t possible to avoid all accidental fires at home, you can lessen the chances of fire by having your home’s fire prevention up to date. Here are several ways to make your home more fire safe:
Test the smoke detectors
Everyone’s decided to deactivate a smoke detector – the pesky beeping sound going off when everyone is trying to sleep is enough to drive a homeowner crazy.
While that repeated beeping may be a nuisance, smoke detectors save lives. Test your homes detectors every few months to ensure they work properly and replace batteries regularly.
Buy fire extinguishers
Fire extinguishers are essential. You should have at least one on every floor of your home. Make sure the location corresponds with your home’s fire emergency plan. All members of the family who are responsible and old enough to work a fire extinguisher should know the location of the extinguishers and how they operate.
Eliminate fire hazards
Here are some of the most common fire risks around your home you should know about:
Kitchen appliances like grills, pressure cookers and stoves need about a 3-foot radius of space between them and another object to prevent fires. You may have to arrange some things, but it’s worth the time and effort.
Drying clothes results in a lot of lint. While it’s common to clean out the lint catcher after every load of laundry, people don’t know much about the dryer cabinet. Have a handyman help you get the lint out of the dryer cabinet to help prevent fire.
If you have any outlets in your home that don’t securely hold electrical cords, you need to have it checked. Outlets of this kind generate large amounts of heat and may start fires, so have all loose outlets re-secured.
Install carbon monoxide monitors
While not directly a fire hazard, installing and testing carbon monoxide detectors should go hand in hand with smoke detector maintenance. Not every home has a CO monitor, but it should. A toxic gas, carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless. It can be the harmful byproduct of appliances homeowners use every day. Common sources include gas water heaters, open flames and even fireplaces – it is present whenever fuel is burned. The release of carbon monoxide is something that you can’t predict, so don’t take a chance – have a handyman professional help you install a carbon monoxide detector. Detectors can be purchased online or in stores and are inexpensive. Make sure your detector is installed close to the ceiling or near the floor. CO will rise or fall.
There are several things you can do around the home to help prevent fires from starting. Remember, though, that it’s paramount to have a fire safety and evacuation plan in place in the event that your home does have a fire. Make sure everyone knows the exits from your home and that all individuals know your address and how to call 911. Show your children what firefighters look like when they’re wearing helmets and masks so they aren’t scared if a firefighter has to enter the home to carry them to safety.